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History of American Baptists — North Carolina

By David Benedict – 1848

Early History of the Baptists in the State—The first company, in 1727—Second company, in 1742—Third company, in 1756—The early movements of the New England New-Lights, or Separates—Sandy Creek Church—Do. Association.

THE increase of our denomination in the North State by periods, teas as follows about the middle of the 18th century, there were sixteen churches of General Baptists; the amount of membership is not, named; these original institutions, as we shall see, in process of time, either became extinct or were moulded to the Particular plan.

In 1790, according to Asplund’s Register, the number of churches was 94; the preachers, ord., 77; lic., 45; and members, it little over 7000.

ln 1812, according to my tables, the churches amounted to about two hundred and the membership to thirteen thousand. At that time, there were eleven Associations: the number of these bodies at present is a little over thirty, and the churches of both the missionary and anti-missionary parties are about six hundred.

The Associations I shall describe in my usual manner, after I have given an account of the early movement of our denomination in this State.


According to Morgan Edwards’ account, there were some individual Imposts in this State as early as 1695; but it appears that the first church which ever existed within its bounds was gathered by one Paul Palmer, about the year 1727, at a place called Perquimans, on Chowan river, towards the north-east, corner of the State. Mr. Palmer is said to have been a native of Maryland, was baptized at Welsh Tract, in Delaware, by Owen Thomas, the pastor of the, church in that place; was ordained in Connecticut, but was some time in New Jersey, and then in Maryland; he at last moved to North Carolina, where he gathered the church above mentioned, With which lie continued, not, however, without solne difficulties, until his, death. He appears to have been the instrument of doing some good, but was not so happy as to leave: a good character behind him. Mr. John Comer, of Newport, R. I., maintained a correspondence with him for a number of years, and frequently makes mention of him in his Ms. Journal, in respectful terms.[1]

Not long after Palmer settled in North Carolina, one Joseph Parker,[2] who was probably one of his disciples, began to preach in the same region, and though Palmer died before, yet Parker lived and continued on his old plan till after the formation, and also the renovation of the Kehukee Association, which will soon be described.


About the year 1742, one William Sojourner, who is said to have been a most excellent man and useful minister, removed, with many of his brethren, from Berkley, in Virginia, and settled on Kehukee Creek, in the county of Halifax, about one hundred and twenty miles north-west of Newbern, and the same year planted a church in that place, which continues to the present day. This church has seen prosperous days, and has been a mother to many others, the number and names of which I am not able to give.

Most of the baptists in North Carolina are said to have emigrated from the church of Burley, in Virginia; but by the labors of Palmer, Parker, and Sojourner, and some other preachers who were raised up in the parts, so many were brought to embrace their sentiments, that they, by about the year 1752, had increased to sixteen churches.

These churches had an annual interview, or yearly meeting, in which they inspected or regulated the general concerns of their community. These people were all General Baptists, and those of them who emigrated from England, came out from that community there.

Although this people maintained a strict adherence to baptist principles, so far as baptism was concerned, yet in process of time they fell into a loose and neglectful manner as to their rules of church discipline, and so continued until more Orthodox opinions and a more rigid economy in their ecclesiastical affairs were introduced among them, which took place about the year 1751, and was caused partly by the preaching of Robert Williams, of Welsh Neck, S. C., and partly by the conversation and efforts of a layman, commonly called the sley-maker, whose name was William Wallis, but chiefly by the labors of Rev. Joint Gano, who visited them in the summer 1754, and of Benjamin Miller, and Peter P. Vanhorn, who went amongst them some time in the year after. Mr. Gano was sent out by the Philadelphia Association, with general and indefinite instructions to travel in the southern States, &,c. Ile, on his return, represented the melancholy condition of this people to the Association, who appointed Messrs. Miller and Vanhorn for the purpose of instructing and reforming them. Mr. Gano appears to have shaken the old foundation, and began the preparation of the material, which Messrs. Miller and Vanhorn organized into regular churches. This visit is thus described by Mr. Edwards:

“Mr. Gano, on his arrival, sent to the ministers, requesting sting an interview with them, which they declined, rind appointed a meeting among themselves to consult what to do. Mr. Gano hearing of it, went to their meeting, and addressed them in words to this effect: I have desired a visit from you, which, as a brother and a stranger, 1 had a right to expect, but as we have refused I give up my claim and am come to pay you a visit.’ With that, lie ascended into the pulpit and read for his text the following word:: ‘Jesus I know, an a Paul I know, but who are ye?’ This text he managed in such a manner as to make some afraid of him, and others ashamed of their shyness. Many were convinced of errors touching faith and conversion, and submitted to examination. One minister hearing this (who stood well with himself) ), went to be examined, and intimated to his people, he should return triumphant. Mr. Gano heard him out, and then turning to his companion, said, ‘I profess, brother, this will not do: this man has the one thing needful to seek.’ Upon which, the person examined hastened home, and upon being asked how he came off? replied ‘The Lord have mercy upon you, for this northern minister has put a mene tekel upon me !'”

By the labors of Mr. Gano, and also of Messrs. Miller and Vanhorn, a great work was effected among this people, which consisted not merely in the important business of reforming their creed and purifying their churches, but also in reviving the power of godliness amongst the erroneous and lukewarm professors, and in the conviction and conversion of many others. And what was left unfinished by them, was undertaken and carried on with a laudable zeal by the ministers among themselves, some of whom were converted by their means, and most of whom caught, in a good degree, their spirit, and imitated their examples insomuch, that before the year 1765, all the ministers (and they were considerably numerous), except the two Parkers, Joseph and William, and a Mr. Winfield, and all the churches, excepting those under their care, which were not more than two or three, had embraced the principles of the reformation.


In the account of the Virginia baptists, all incidental reference is had to Stearns and his company passing through the State oil their way to the south. It may be proper here to observe, that most of the Separates had strong faith in the immediate teachings of the spirit in special instructions as to the path of duty.

“Steans, listening to some of these instructions from heaven, as he esteemed then, conceived himself called upon to move far to the westward, to execute a great and extensive work. Such were the impressions under which this distinguished man tell his New England home for the long and laborious journey which resulted in such abundant usefulness.”

Mr. Stearns was a native of Boston, Mass., but was baptized after he joined the New Lights, in 1751, by Wait Palmer, and soon after was ordained by Palmer and Joshua Morse, in Tolland, Conn.

In 1754, he and a few of his members commenced the important mission. He halted first at Opeckon, in Berkley Co., in the upper part of Virginia, where he found a baptist church under the care of Rev. John Garrard, who received him kindly. Here also lie met his brother-in-law, Rev. Daniel Marshall, who was also a Separate, but as yet in the pedobaptist connection, anti of whom much will be said in the history of the southern baptists, just returned from leis mission among the Indians, and who, after his arrival at this place, had become a baptist. They joined companies, and settled for a while oil Cacapon, in Hampshire Co., about thirty miles from Winchester. Here, Stearns not meeting with his expected success, felt restless. Some of his friends had moved to North Carolina; he received letters from these, informing him that preaching was greatly desired by the people of that country; that in some instances they had rode 40 miles to hear one sermon. He and his party once more got under way, and traveling about 200 miles, came to Sandy Creek, in Guilford county, North Carolina. Here he took up leis permanent residence. The number of families in Steams’ company were eight, and the number of communicants 16, viz: Shubeal Stearns and wife, Peter Stearns and wife, Ebenezer Stearns and wife, Shubeal Stearns, Jun., and wife, Daniel Marshall and wile, Joseph Breed and wife, Enos Stimson and wife, Jonathan Polk and wife.[3]

As soon as they arrived, they built them a little meeting-house, and these 16 persons formed themselves into a church, and chose Shubeal Stearns for their pastor, who had, for his assistants at that time, Daniel Marshall and Joseph Breed, neither of whom were ordained.

The inhabitants about this little colony of baptist,.although brought up in the Christian religion, were grossly ignorant of it, essential principles. Having the form of godliness, they knew nothing of its power. Stearns and his party of course brought strange; things to their ears.

The doctrine of the new birth, as insisted on by these zealous advocates for evangelical religion, they could not comprehend. Having always supposed that religion consisted in nothing more than the practice of its outward duties, they could not comprehend how it should be necessary to feel conviction and conversion; and to be able to ascertain the time and place of one’s conversion, was, in their estimation, wonderful indeed. These points were all strenuously contended for by the new preachers. But their manner of preaching wits, if possible, much more novel than their doctrines. The Separates in New England had acquired a very warm and pathetic address, accompanied by strong gestures and a singular tone of voice. Being often deeply affected themselves when preaching, corresponding affections were felt by their pious hearers, which was frequently expressed by tears, trembling, screams, and exclamations of grief and joy. All these they brought with theta into their new habitation, at which the people were greatly astonished, having never seen anything on this wise before. Many mocked, but the power of God attending them, marry also trembled. In process of time, some of the inhabitants became converts, and bowed obedience to the Redeemer’s sceptre. These uniting their labors with the others, a powerful and extensive work commenced, and Sandy Creek church soon swelled from 76 to 606 members.

Daniel Marshall, though not possessed of great talents, was indefatigable in hit labors. He sallied out into the adjacent neighborhoods, and planted the Redeemer’s standard in many of the strongholds of Satan. At Abbott’s Creek, about thirty miles from Sandy Creek, the gospel prospered so largely, that they petitioned the mother church for a constitution, and for the ordination of Mr. Marshall as their pastor. The church was constituted; Mr. Marshall accepted the call, and went to live among them. His ordination, however, was a matter of some difficulty. It required, upon their principle, a plurality of elders to constitute a presbytery. Mr. Stearns was the only ordained minister among them. In this dilemma, they were informed that there were some Regular baptist preachers living on Pedee river, (S. C.) To one[4] of these Mr. Stearns applied, and requested him to assist hint in the ordination of Mr. Marshall. This request he sternly refused, declaring that he held no fellowship with Steams’ party; that he believed them to be a disorderly set, suffering women to pray in public, and permitting every ignorant man to preach that chose; and that they encouraged noise and confusion in their meetings. Application was then made to Mr. Leadbetter, who was then pastor of the church on Lynch’s Creek, Craven county, South Carolina, and who was a brother-in-law of Mr. Marshall. He and Mr. Steams ordained Mr. Marshall to the care of this new church. The work of grace continued to spread, and several preachers were raised in North Carolina. Among others was James Read, who teas afterwards very successful in Virginia. When he first began to preach he was very illiterate, not knowing how to read or write. His wife became his instructor, and he soon acquired learning sufficient to enable him to read the Scriptures.

While Marshall and Harris bent their courses, one to the north and the other to the south, Stearns maintained his station at Sandy Creek, where, his labors were greatly blessed; he, however, often traveled a considerable distance in the country around, to assist in organizing and regulating the churches which he and his associates were instrumental in raising up. Thus the Separate Baptists were headed by three most distinguished men distinguished not for human acquirements, but for purity of life, and godly simplicity, which they, amidst the shipwrecks of many, maintained to the end; and for a pious ardor and invincible boldness and perseverance in their Master’s service. Other preachers were soon raised up under their ministry, whose zealous and abundant labors were crowned with great success; so that the Separates in a few years became truly a great people, and their churches were scattered over a country whose whole extent from north to south was about 500 miles; and Sandy Creek Church, the mother of theta all, was not far from the centre of the two extremes.

“Very remarkable things (said Morgan Edwards in 1775) may be said of this church, worthy a place in Gillis’ book, and inferior to no instance he gives of the modern success of the gospel in different parts of the world. It began with 16 souls, and in a short time increased to 606, spreading its branches to Deep River and Abbott’s Creek, which branches are gone to other provinces, and most of the members of this church have followed them; insomuch that in 17 years, it is reduced from 606 to 14 souls.

“The cause of this dispersion was the civil commotions with which the State was affected at that time.”

The church at Little River was no less remarkable than the one already mentioned; for this was constituted in 1760, five years after the Sandy Creek, and its three years it increased from 5 to 500, and built five meeting-houses; bill this church was also reduced by the provincial troubles and consequent dispersion of the inhabitants mentioned above.

“But to return, Sandy Creek church is the mother of all the Separate Baptists. From this Zion went forth the word, and great was the company of those who published it. This church, in seventeen years, had spread her branches southward as far as Georgia; eastward, to the sea and Chesapeake Bay; and northward, to the waters of the Potomac. It, in seventeen years, became mother, grand-mother, and great-grandmother to 42 churches from which sprung 125 ministers, many of which are on ordained, and support. the sacred-character; well as any set of clergy in America; and if some have turned out bad. where is there a it set of clergy that can throw the first stone, and say, “we are all good.”[5]

This statement was made by a very accurate historian, almost 80 years ago.


As this is the oldest Association in the State, and the fourth in the order of time its this country, it maybe proper to go more into detail as to its history than we shill be able to do ill the other bodies of thus kind in this extensive State.

In the year 1758, three years after Stearns and his company settled at Sandy Creek, a few churches having been constituted, and these having a number of branches, which were fast maturing for churches, Stearns conceived that an Association composed of delegates from them all, would have a tendency to forward the great object of their exertions. For this purpose lie visited every church and congregation, explained to them his contemplated plan, and induced them all to send delegates to his meeting-house its January, 1758, when the Association was formed, which was called Sandy Creek, and which continues to the present time; but it. has experienced many vicissitudes of prosperity and adversity; and at one time, our account of exercising too much power over they churches, it became embarrassed in its movements, and very near to extinction.

For twelve years, all the Separate Baptists in Virginia, and the two Carolinas, continued its connection with this Association, which was generally held at no great distance from the place where it originated. All who could, traveled from its remote extremities, to attend its yearly sessions, which were conducted with great harmony, and afforded sufficient edification to induce them to undertake with cheerfulness these long and laborious journeys. By the means of these meetings, the gospel was carried into many new places, where the fame of title Baptists had previously spread; for great crowds attending from distant parts, mostly through curiosity, many became enamored with these extraordinary people, and petitioned the Association to send preachers into their neighborhoods. These petitions were readily granted, and the preachers into readily complied with the appointments. These people were so much engaged in their evangelical pursuit, that they had no time to spend its theological debates, nor were they very scrupulous about their mode of conducting their meetings. When assembled, their chief employment was preaching, exhortation, singing, and conversation about their various exertions in the Redeemer’s service, the success which hall attended them, and the new and prosperous scenes which were opening before them. These things so inflamed the hearts of the ministers, that they would leave the: Association with a zeal and courage which no common obstacles could impede.

“At our first Association” (says the MS. of James Read, who was present), “we continued together three or four days. Great crowds of people attended, mostly through curiosity. The great power of God was among us. The preaching every day, seemed to be attended with God’s blessing. We carried on our Association with sweet decorum and fellowship to the end. When we took leave of one another, with many solemn charges froth our reverend old father, Shubeal Stearns, to stand fast unto the end.”

At their next Association they were visited by Rev. John Gano, who at that time resided in North Carolina, at a place called the Jersey Settlement. Mr. Gano was received by Stearns with great affection, but as there was at that time an unhappy shyness and jealousy between the Regulars and Separates by the others, lie was treated with coldness and suspicion; and they even refused to invite him into their Association. But Mr. Gano had too much knowledge of mankind, humility and good nature, to be offended at this treatment. He continued awhile as a spectator of their proceedings, and then retired with a view of returning home. Stearns was much hurt and mortified with the shyness and incivility of his brethern, and, in the absence of Mr. Gano, expostulated with them on the matter, and made a proposition to invite him to preach with them. All were forward to invite him to preach, although they could not invite him to a seat in their Assembly. With their invitation he cheerfully complied, and his preaching, though not with the New Light tones and gestures, was in demonstration of the spirit and with power. Ile continued with them to the close of their session, and preached frequently much to their astonishment as well as edification. Their hearts were soon opened towards him, and their cold indifference and languid charity were, before he left them, enlarged into a warm attachment and cordial affection; and so superior did his preaching talents appear to them, that the young and illiterate preachers said, they felt as if they could never attempt to preach again.

“This Association, in its early movements, held many sentiments of a peculiar nature, and which do not prevail among their brethren even here at the present tune. In their laudable endeavors to carry out, to the letter, all suggestions of the New Testament as to chrisitian duties, they discovered, in their estimation, the nine following rites, viz: baptismthe Lords Supperlove-feastslaying-on-of handswashing feetanointed the sickright hand of fellowshipkiss of charityand devoting children. They also retained the offices of ruling elders, elderesses, and deconesses. And, to close the whole, they held to weekly communion.

“The nature and design of all the above enumerated rites and offices will be easily comprehended, except that of devoting children This rite they founded on the circumstance of parents bringing little children to Christ, &c. It was thus performed: as soon as circumstances would permit, after the birth of the child, the mother carried it to the meeting, when the minister either took it in his arms, or laid his hands on it, and thanked God for his mercy and invoked a blessing on the. child, at which time it received its name. This rite, which was by many satirically called a dry-christening, prevailed, not only in the Sandy Creek Association, but in many parts of Virginia.”[6]

It must not be understood that all the churches in this body were strenuous, or even uniform, in the observance of this long list of rites, all of which, however, appear to be suggested by the Scriptures, and some of thein, as love feasts and deaconesses, were unquestionably maintained among the early christians. Nor did those who maintained the whole of them, refuse communion with their brethren who neglected a part.

Mr. Steams finished his course at Sandy Creek, Nov. 20, in 1771. and was buried near his meeting-house. He was a man of small stature, but good natural parts and sound judgment. His voice was musical and strong, and many stories are told respecting the wonderful and enchanting influence which was exerted on his hearers by his vocal powers, and the glances of his eves. His character was indisputably good as a man, a christian, and a preacher.[7]

The Regulars and Separates, all of whom were, in early times, included in the two Associations of Sandy Creek and Kehukee, by a similar, though somewhat longer and more tedious process, in due time, effected a re-union similar to the one in Virginia, which we have already described. A brief account of this transaction will soon be given.

This ancient community has now existed 92 years, and has been the nursery of many ministers, churches, and Associations. The, late Dr. Brantley, who, in his day, occupied a number of important stations, and died pastor of the First Church, Charleston, S. C., and Dr. Manly, president of the Alabama University, originated in this body; I believe they were members of the same church.

I was in this region in 1810, and visited a number of the pastors of the churches of this old body; among them, was John Culpepper, sometime a member of Congress, who was one of its most efficient ministers, and George Pope, under whose pastoral charge Mr. Brantley commenced iris religious and ministerial course, and from him I received the account of the remarkable revival of religion which prevailed within the bounds of this community, and in all the surrounding country in the commencement of the present century; it is related somewhat in detail in my 2d Vol.; a few items respecting it I will repeat:

“Two extensive revivals had been experienced in this Association, after the death of Mr. Steams, before the mighty movement now under consideration; but, by deaths and removal, this old body, at the close of the 18th century, was in every respect much reduced.

“The ministers had become few in number, and the churches small and languid; iniquity greatly abounded in the land, and the love of many had waxen cold. But towards the close of the year 1800, that astonishing work which flat[ been prevailing a short time in Kentucky and other parts, made a sudden and unexpected entrance amongst them, and was attended with most of the new and unusual appearances, which, in many places, it assumed. This work was not confined to the baptists, but prevailed at the same time amongst the methodists and presbyterians, both of which denominations were considerably numerous in the parts. These two last denominations, soon after the commencement of the revival, united their communion and camp-meetings. The baptist, were strongly solicited to embark on a general communion scheme; but they, pursuant to their consistent principles, declined a compliance. But they hats camp or field-meetings amongst themselves, and many individuals of them united with the methodists and presbyterians in theirs. The baptists established camp-meetings flow motives of convenience and necessity, and relinquished them as soon as they were no longer needful. Their meeting-houses are generally small, and surrounded with groves of wood, which they carefully preserve, for the advantage of the cooling shade which they afford in the heat of summer. In these groves the stages were erected, around which the numerous congregations encamped; and when they could be accommodated in the meeting-houses, to them they repaired. A circumstance which led the people to come prepared to encamp on the ground was, that those who lived adjacent to the place of meeting although willing to provide for the refreshment, as far as they were able, of the numerous congregations which assembled; yet, in most cases, they would have found it impracticable; and furthermore, they wished to be at the meeting themselves, what time they must have stayed at home for the purpose. The people, therefore, would be advised by their ministers and others, at the first camp-meetings, to come to the next and all succeeding ones, prepared to accommodate and refresh themselves. In this way, camp-meetings were instituted amongst the baptists.

“In nearly the same way, meetings of a similar nature were established by the united body of methodists and presbyterians in these parts; but like many Other things produced on extraordinary occasions, they continued after the call for them has ceased. Their efficacy was by many too highly estimated. They had witnessed at them, besides much confusion and disorder, many evident taut remarkable displays of Divine power; and their ardor in promoting them after the zeal which instituted them had abated, indicated that they considered them the most probable means of effecting a revival.*****

Some accounts follow on the apparent genuineness of the revivals, notwithstanding the unusual manner in which the meetings were conducted.

“In In the progress of the revival among the baptists, and, especially, at their camp-meetings, there were exhibited scenes of the most solemn and affecting nature; and in many instances there was it heard at the same time, throughout the vast congregation, a mingled sound of prayer, exhortation, groans and praise. The fantastic exercise of jerking, dancing, &c., in a religious way, prevailed much with the united body of methodists and presbyterians, toward the close of the revival; but they, were not introduced at all among the baptists in these parts. But falling down under religious impressions was frequent amour; them. Many were taken with these religions epilepsies, if we may so call them, not only at the great meetings, where those scenes were exhibited which were calculated to move the sympathetic affections; but also about their daily employments, some in the fields, some in their houses, and some when hunting their cattle in the woods. And in some cases people were thus strangely affected when alone; so that if some played the hypocrite, with others the exercise mist have been involuntary and unaffected. And besides falling down, there were many other expressions of zeal, which in more moderate people would be considered enthusiastic and wild.

“The above relation was given me by Rev. George Pope, the pastor of the church at Abbot’s Creek, who is a man of sense and moderation, arid who, with many of his brethren, was much tried in his mind and stood aloof from the work at its commencement; but it spread so rapidly and powerfully, that they soon discovered such evident mark of its being a genuine work of grace, notwithstanding its new and unusual appearances, that their doubts :subsided, and they cordially and zealously engaged in forwarding arid promoting it. Mr. Pope, it; the course of the revival, baptized about 500 persons. Large numbers were also baptized by Joint Culpepper, William McGregore, and many others. But as the Minutes of the Association were not printed at this time, the total number cannot now be ascertained, yet it must have been very large.”

We have seen that, according to Morgan Edwards’ account, the Sandy Creek fraternity of New England New Lights, or Separate Baptists, nearly one century ago, spread its branches to the utmost bounds of Virginia on the north, and to South Carolina and Georgia on the south. The Holston Association, which arose in Eastern Tennessee in 1786, in part originated from this spiritual and prolific mother; the institutions which have gone out from it in this State, will of course be noticed in the details of their history.[8]

As the account of this ancient community constitutes a part of the old history of North Carolina, as to baptist operations, it, seemed necessary to introduce it in this place. I .hall now continue the history of the Mate, by Associations under two divisions: eastern and western.; my line of demarcation will not be very definite. This arrangement I have made for my own convenience I do not find that the people here are accustomed to any formal divisions of their longitudinal territory, which stretches from the sea-board to far beyond the mountains, to Tennessee, and the upper end of Georgia. The Low Country, the High Lands, the Mountains, and beyond them, as near as I can learn, are all the distinctions commonly employed in their local and geographical descriptions.


Kehukee Association—Portsmouth—Neuse—Cape Fear—Goshen—Chowan—Tar River—Raleigh—Beulah, and others.


As this old body, which bears date from 1765 for about half a century, held an important rank in this and the surrounding States, and spread its branches in most of the low countries, and from it went out directly or indirectly most of the associations now in existence in this region, its history requires some extra attention.

This body arose out of the churches which bad been reformed to an orthodox standard, fry the labors of Messrs. Gano, Miller, Vanhorn, as has already been related. It was organized in 1765, at Kehukee Creek, in Halifax count-, on the northern side of the State. Soon after its formation, it opened a correspondence with the Charleston Association in S. C., with which some. of the churches had united after their renovation. Jonathan Thomas, John Thomas, John Moore, John Burgess, William Burgess, Charles Daniel, William Walker, John Meglamre, James Abbington, Thomas Pope, and Henry Abbott, were the principal, if not all the ministers belonging to this Association, at the time of its constitution.

Rev. Isaac Backus, the baptist historian, was present in the session of this body, field at the Isle of Wight, in Virginia, in 1789.

The churches of which this Association was at first composed, according to Burket and Read, who wrote its history in 1803, were, besides the one from which it was named, those called Tosnoit, Falls of Tar River, Fishing Creek, Reedy Creek, Sandy Run, and Camden.[9] For many years this was a very efficient and prosperous community; a considerable number of its ministers were among the most able and active in the State, and its bounds were so greatly enlarged that in twenty-five years it had increased to sixty-one churches, and upwards of five thousand members. By 1790, by a mutual agreement, nineteen churches were dismissed to form the Portsmouth Association, in Virginia, and in four years after, the Neuse Association went off from this prolific community. It was now reduced to 26 churches. But soon after, so remarkable was the spirit of revival among them, that in the course of two years, fifteen hundred converts were baptized within its bounds.

Union of the Regular and Separate Baptists in N. C.

We must bear in mind that the Kehukee Association does not trace its pedigree from the New England New Lights, but from a company of General Baptists, who came hither from the mother country, via the colony of Virginia, which had been moulded to the orthodox standard, by the men and means which we have already described: most of whom, not early, but in process of time, adopted the strong views of hyper-Calvinism. About the tune this Association was formed, the Separate party had become numerous, and were rapidly increasing in the upper regions of the colony; the ministers of both companies in their evangelical exertions were often brought in close contact, and had frequent interviews with each other; and although they differed in some small matters, yet they united their zealous labors in their evangelizing efforts, and a growing fellowship for each other produced air increasing desire to be more closely united.

The Kehukee body made the first advances towards the union, and in 1772, sent two of their elders, viz., Meglamre and Thomas, as deputies to the Separate, or Sandy Creek Association, for the purpose of making overtures to effect it. This led to a friendly discussion of the points of difference between them, and, after considerable delay, the union of the two parties was affected.

The principal, difficulty. ire the way of the proposed action arose from the fact, which was not decried, that in some of the Kehukee churches members were found, who had been baptized before their conversion, by the careless Arminian preachers, under whose pastorship they had formerly been. This circumstance had been for a long time a source of trouble and embarrassment to the ministers at home, and the discussions which now arose on the subject threw the body into commotion, and finally ended in its division. The arguments on both sides, which I shall denominate Reformers and anti-Reformers, were as follows:

Reformers. Adult persons have no better claim to baptism before their conversion, than infants have.

Anti-Reformers. We admit the correctness of your doctrine, but, say, in reply, this is an evil which we found in the churches when the Association was formed; all of us have submitted to it a number of years-the reformation you propose will unavoidably produce confusion and division; but if the thing is let alone, as the members complained of are advanced in years, it will soon vanish away.

But the Reformers persevered and remodeled their body to the true baptist standard, arid after this, the union with the Separates was easily effected.

The latest Minutes I have of this ancient body are those of 1842; then it had forty churches, and upwards of fourteen hundred members.

The KEHUKEE CHURCH, 1755, was then the largest in this Association; it reported 125: all the others are under 100.

The churches called Fishing Creek, 1755; Falls of Tar River, 1757; Flat Swamp, 1776; Cross Road, 1786; are the oldest in old Kehukee.

The churches are in the counties of Halifax, Edgecombe, Martin, Washington, Pitt, Beaufort, Carteret, Hvde, Tyrrell, Currituck Camden, &c. Halifax, near the Virginia line, was in old times a central position for this body; but at present it seems to be on its western edge, and the churches are spread over most of the eastern and north-eastern part of the State. This ancient body has for many years been decidedly hostile to all benevolent institutions, and is probably the strongest Association in the State of this character; its churches, instead of occupying a particular location, as is commonly the case, are intermixed with those whose principles on missionary and all other societies they wage a fierce warfare against, through a wide range of territory.

The Portsmouth Association, which is now one of the strong Virginia communities, was the first company which colonized from the mother body; it took off all the churches on the Virginia side of the line, and was set off in 1790, as has already been related.


This was formed by a second colony from this fruitful nursery, in 1794; it contained at the tine of its organization twenty-three churches, which were situated on both sides of the river whose name it assumed, and extended from Tar River nearly to the southern boundary of the State. It embraced, in its early movements, a number of the oldest churches in the country.

Rev. John Thomas, and his two sons, Jonathan and John, were among its most distinguished ministers at its commencement.

This community shared largely in the great revival which spread through all the country, which has already been referred to in the early part of this century. In my table for 1812, it contained a thousand members. As I have none of its late minutes, of course I must omit my usual account of its churches.

Allen’s Register for 1836, makes its membership between 6 and 7 hundred. Its churches were in the counties of Pitt, Lenoir, Jones, Craven, and Carteret.

The Baptist Almanac represents it about half that size in 1842; it symbolizes, I believe, with what are called the old school party, if it still maintains its visibility.


Was formed from the Neuse, in 1805; it is situated in the southern corner of the State, in the counties of Cumberland, Robeson, Columbus, Bladen, and Brunswick. Some of them are in the ad adjoining parts of S. C., in the districts of Marion and Horry.

This Association has adopted the commendable practice of affixing the dates of their churches to their Minutes, by which I learn that most of them have been constituted within the present century, and generally they are of recent origin.

The FAYETTEVILLE CHURCH, 1837, is the largest in this body.[10]


Was formed by a colony from Cape Fear, in 1827. This fact I obtained from Allen’s Register, and it constitutes my whole stock of information relative to this community. I have no Minutes since 1842, in which there is no distinction between the ministers anti the outer delegates. It then had 24 churches; most of them, however, were small.[11]

The WILMINGTON Church was then the largest in this body.[12] This is a town of much importance in the neighborhood in which the churches are probably situated. Sampson is the only county (tamed on the Minutes above referred to.


This was another branch of the old Kehukee, and Was organized with 18 churches, containing, upwards of eighteen hundred members in 1806.

The Roanoke River became the dividing line, and all the churches of which this body was at first composed in the beginning lay to the east of it. This is the largest Association in this State, having about double the, membership of any other, although the churches are not as numerous as the Cape Fear, but they are large, compared with associational fraternities in this government; but unfortunately no historical sketches of any of them have come to hand, except same additional items relative to the church founded by Paul Palmer in 1727, now called Shiloh, of which some account has already been given, This old society now belongs to this Association; a few of the peculiarities of its rule; of discipline in early times, are thus described by a correspondent who lives near it:

“I have procured the Records, which go back to 1758, when John Burgess was pastor, and the business of the church was managed by elders or overseers,’ while the private secular matters of the members, was under the direction of the ministers, and six members who were constituted the ‘Court of Union.’ The churches had several arms or branches in the adjoining counties, to which the ministers, attended by the overseers, and the clerk, regularly repaired. In a few years the I Court of Union’ was dispensed with-but the churches being dissatisfied with its extinction, nine members were chosen, who were to be considered permanent elders, if found faithful, while the former overseers or elders were elected annually. Lemuel Burket, who afterwards became a minister of much distinction in this region, was once a member of this ancient society.[13] ****

Such was the complex machinery in ecclesiastical affairs at that early period with this well-meaning people.

The Minutes of this Association are well got up in general, but the dates of the churches are not given, nor is there, any reference to the counties in which they are situated. This deficiency is supplied by a tabular view of this large community, which was compiled by Dr. Wheeler, its clerk, for my use. From this I learn, when each body arose, and who are their present. pastors. A few are of great age, but a majority of them have been formed within the present century.

The COLERAINE CHURCH, Jno. Newell pastor, appears to be the largest in this body; [14] it bears date from 1789.


This body bears date from 1831; it is on the ground formerly occupied by old Kehukee, and probably originated, wholly or in part, from that body, but I have no historical information of its commencement or progress. Its name indicates the important stream on which it is situated. The Minutes do not distinguish the ministers froth the other delegates, neither do they specify the counties where their churches are found, but I have ascertained that a part of them, at least, are in those of Warren, Franklin, Nash, and Edgecombe.

The POPLAR SPRING CHURCH is the largest in this body.[15]


I learn from Allen’s Register, of 1833, that this community was organized in 1830, by the union of two small bodies by the name of Toisnot, and Nawhunty; in 1844, it contained 17 churches in the counties of Edgecombe, Green, Pitt, Wyne, and Lenoir; none of the churches amounted to 100.


This singular name is given to a very small Association which was formed about 1840. Its Minutes of 1844, exhibit four churches, containing in the aggregate 155 members. It is situated in the counties of Green, Lenoir, and Duplin.


This is a small body in the lower part of the State, adjoining S. C., and was probably formed about 1840. I have no account of its origin, or any items of its history, except. what is contained in a copy of its Minutes for 1842, in which I find the following article in their constitution:

“We, as an Association, declare a non-fellowship with Masonry, Missionary, Bible, and Tract societies, Campbellism, State Conventions,, Theological Seminaries, and all other new institutions that have the appearance of a speculation on the gospel; we know of but two societies, viz.: Civil and Religious.”

The churches are all small, and contain in the aggregate about 400 members; they are situated in the counties of Jones, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslaw, and Carteret.


This is a community of forty years standing, having been organized in 1805, with but four churches which were dismissed from the Neuse.

The clerk of this ancient body has sent, me an account of its annual doings, from near the time of its commencement, which shows, for each year, the preachers of the first sermon-the names of the moderators and clerks-the No. of churches–the total, do. baptized-do. of members. In 1831 they received by baptism 466, which appears to be the largest number in one year.

The moderators for different periods of time, for about forty years, have been M. Thomas, J. Gulley, B. Fuller, Geo. Nance, J. Purify, J. Southerland, S. Senter, and J. Dennis. The clerks have been R. T. Daniel, S. Stephenson, J. Gulley, Thos. Crocker, J. Britt, Geo. W. Purify, Wm. Roles, and S. P. Norris. Croker has performed the clerkship more years than any other member; Norris has filled that office for a number of years past.

The seat of this community is in the Capital of the State, whose name it bears; Wake Forest College, a baptist institution, is situated but 16 miles from it, and has been got up by this and other Associations, which are friendly to the cause of education.

The HEPZIBAH CHURCH appears to be the largest in this body; it is, I believe, near to the seat of government.[16]

The Raleigh Association stands the third in the State for numerical strength; Chowan and Cape Fear are the only ones before it.


Was formed in 1826, by a seceding colony from the one last named, because, in the estimation of the Seceders, they were doing too much for missions and other objects of the kind. It of course is on the same ground. All the information I have respecting it, is contained in Mr. Norris’ details of the Raleigh Association.[17]


This is one of the old communities of the north State; it was formed in 1791, by a division of the Roanoke, which is now confined to the Virginia side of the line. The division was made by mutual agreement, as such movements generally were at that time.

With materials for the history of this ancient fraternity, I am very amply supplied, by the efforts of Thomas B. Barnet, who has been its clerk for a number of years past, and from historical sketches of the churches which are found on the Minutes for 1845. This body is on the ground occupied by the old Separate baptists, about a century ago.

GRASSY CREEK CHURCH, 1765, is the oldest in this body; it arose out of the labors of James Read and Daniel Marshall. Mr. Read was its first pastor. After him, they have lead in succession, for their spiritual guides, S. Harris, H. Leister, T. Vase, R. Picket, E. Battle, H. T. Daniel, W. B. Warrell, Thomas D. Mason, and Samuel Duty.

Rev. James Ding, the present incumbent, has occupied this station about 15 years.

This church has been the seat of operations for the denomination in this, region; it was here, that the widespread Separate Association agreed on its division in 1770.

In 1829, a missionary society was formed in this church, and about $100 was collected for the mission cause. The State Convention for N. C., held its anneal session with this body in 1831.

The BUFFALO CHURCH, 1778, was also founded by Read, Harris, and their evangelical associates.

“This is a church of happy standing, and has been blessed with several revivals; many years ago, there Were 90 added as the fruits of one of these refreshing; seasons; in 1813, Rev. Jas. King baptized 93 into the fellowship of this church.”[18]

The BETHEL CHURCH, 1823, stands on the Minutes for 1845, as the largest in this body.[19]

The churches in this Association are situated in the counties of Person, Orange, Wake, and Granville; most of them are in the one last named. The N. C. University is in the bounds of this Association, at Chapel hill, Orange Co.; but this, I believe, is wholly under the control of the Presbyterians.


Was formed by a division of the Flat River in 1806; it was divided by a line running north nod south, and the churches to the west of the line united in the new organization. This community is also on old ground for baptists, and some of its churches, as it stood at the time of its commencement, were those which were gathered by S. Harris, J. Read, Thomas Mullins, Dutton Lane, &c.

The ENO CHURCH, James Terrell pastor, is the largest in this body.[20]


Was formed in 1834, with only three churches, which, in the, aggregate, contained but 157 members; it has since increased to thirteen churches, and upwards of 1000 communicants. This young community is in the same counties of the Country Line fraternity, from which they were driven out by the passage of a set of stereotyped resolutions by the old body, which proscribed all the societies of the day, religious newspapers, &c., as being incompatible with what they called old school principles. This growing interest supports an itinerant minister, who acts as a colporteur and missionary among the feeble churches, and in the destitute parts of their own bounds.

Rev. Stephen Pleasant, with whom the trouble began, as to the cause of benevolence, and who was the principal means of getting up this institution, has begirt its moderator from the time of its organization.

The CANE CREEK CHURCH is the largest in this body.[21]

In the bounds of the Beulah Association, in the county of Caswell, are two High Schools, which are well spoken of; one is under the tuition of

Rev. J. J. James, pastor of one of the churches. The other, which is for females, is at Milton; both, I believe, are baptist institutions.[22]

We have now gone over about half the State, so fit as the baptist population is concerned, and shall probably find that the largest portion of the communicants are contained in the Associations whose affairs have come under review. I shall now attempt my usual historical sketches of the remaining associational communities, which lie scattered over the long range of territory which stretches beyond the mountains, to Tennessee on the west, and South Carolina and Georgia on the south.


Pedee Association—Abbot’s Creek do.—Liberty—Catawba—Green River—Yadkin—Mountain—Mayo—Brier Creek—Three Fork—French Broad—Big Ivey—Tuckasiege—Salem—Valley, and others—Closing Remarks—Literary Institutions—Correspondents.


Bears date from1815; it is an offspring of the old Sandy Creek fraternity, front which it colonized at the date above given. The Deep River, one of the head waters of Cape Fear, became the dividing line; the churches to the south and west of it went oft’ in the new connection. John Culpepper and Bennet Solomon appear to have been the leading men among them in their early movements. This body, from its commencement, has been identified with missionary and other benevolent operations.

A very full history of the doings of this Association, from the beginning, have been supplied me, by Alex. N. Nicholson, its clerk; from his communication, I leant that the three churches called Forks of Little River 1760, Rocky River, 1776, and Pedee, 1785, are the oldest in this community; all the others have been formed within the present century; most of them are of recent origin. This Association, business-like, gives the slates of its churches in its statistical table; they are situated in the counties of Montgomery, Stanley, Anson, and Richmond; it joins South Carolina on the south.

Some extensive revivals have prevailed in this region in modern times in the course of three years, from 1830, this then small interest received by baptism, upwards of seven hundred members.

The PEDEE CHURCH J. M. Thomas, was the largest in this hotly in 1814.[23]


Was formed from the Pedee, in 1825, which greatly reduced it, as to its numerical strength, and, what was worse, the seceding party who went off because the old institution was too much identified with benevolent operations.[24] It is situated in the counties of Davidson, Randolph, &c.

The ABBOT CREEK CHURCH, 1777, was the largest in 1842, which is the latest account I have had from it. Its number then, was 106; all the other churches were small, and the whole body contained but about three hundred members. Abbot’s Creek was a famous place for baptists in this region more than a century ago, as we have seen in the history of the Separate baptists. It hall pastors of much efficiency, and enjoyed revivals of religion of uncommon power and interest.


Arose in 1832, out of churches which withdrew from the community last named, on account of their opposition to all benevolent institutions. It is situated, mostly, in the county of Davidson; Stokes, Guilford, and Montgomery, embrace one church each.

The JERSEY CHURCH, W. Turner, pastor, is the largest in this body.[25]


Was formed in 1826, of churches which, in part at least, hall belonged to the Broad River Association, in South Carolina. It is situated on the stream whose name it bears; this same river takes the name of Wateree, after passing into the South State. The churches are not generally large, but are somewhat numerous, and are situated in the counties of Wilks, Iredell, Burke, Lincoln, Rutherford, and Mecklenburg. As I have none of its late Minutes, I ant not able to give my usual notices of its churches and pastors.


Was formed in 1840. This young interest also came, in part, from the old Broad River, in South Carolina, that prolific parent of kindred institutions. This and the Catawba lie contiguous to each other, and Rutherford county appears to embrace a considerable portion of the churches belonging to them both. Its Minutes for 1845, exhibit 25 churches, but none of them amount to 100.

Having arrived to the neighborhood of the mountains, on the southern side of the State, I will now go up to an old baptist region and give the best account I can of a cluster of Associations which are spread over an extensive territory in the middle and no northern poi portions of the State.


Bears date from 1790, and is the oldest institution of the kind in this part of North Carolina. The following account of its origin and progress during its early movements is found in my 1st Vol. As I was on the ground in 1810, and collected my information from solve of its originators, who were then alive, the presumption is, that it is essentially correct.

“The Yadkin was so called, from a river which rises in the Alleghany mountains, and is one of the tread streams of the Great Pedee one of the most important rivers in South Carolina. It lies to the westward of Sandy Creek, and originated as follows:

In the year 1786, eleven churches, which laid been previously gathered about the head of the Yadkin and its waters, began to hold yearly Conferences, as a branch of the, Strawberry Association in Virginia. The proceedings of this Conference were: annually submitted to the Association to which it had attached itself; for their inspection, and were borne thither by delegates appointed for the purpose. But in 1790, the churches, composing this conference, were, upon their request, dismissed, and formed a distinct Association. The ministers belonging to this body :it it, commencement, were George M’Neal, John Cleaveland, William Petty, William Hammond, Cleaveland Caffee, Andrew Baker, and John Stone. This Association, like Sandy Creek, transacted its business, or at least held its sessions, for a number or years without a moderator. Some of their scrupulous brethren, it seems, were opposed to order, or to formality, as they esteemed it, in their religious proceedings, and pleaded that it was an infringement of christian liberty, and too much like worldly assemblies, to have a moderator at their head, whom they must address when they spoke, and whose liberty then must request &c. In 1793, Mr. John Gano, who then lived in Kentucky, visited this Association, and found many difficulties among them on account of these things. But, he knew very well how to manage prejudices so whimsical and absurd, and prevailed on them to choose a moderator and establish rules, by which their business was afterwards conducted with much decorum.

“The church in the Jersey settlements in Rowan county is the oldest in the Yadkin Association, and was gathered by Mr. Gano, in1758, three years after the Sandy Creek church was established. Mr. Gano resided there about two years when the church was broken up by the incursions of the Indians, and he returned to New Jersey, from whence he had removed hither. But the church was re-gathered after the Indian war was over.

“Dr. Richard Forman, now of Charleston, South Carolina, resided and preached in the bounds of this Association, during a part of the Revolutionary war.

“Joseph Murphy, the pastor of the church on Deep Creek, in the county of Surry, has been, in most respects, the most distinguished minister among the churches in this body. He and William Murphy, whose name frequently occurs in the history of the Virginia baptists, were brothers. They were both baptized by Shubeal Stearns, and began to preach while very young and were called, by way of derision, Murphy’s boys. William, who had the roost conspicuous talent:, removed to Tennessee, about 1780, arid was one of the most active minister in the Holston Association, which he assisted in raising up, and in which lie was very useful and much esteemed until his death, the exact time of which is not known, but it is believed to have been about 1800.”

I have no late Minutes of this ancient community, and, of course, must omit my usual account of its pastors and churches.


This was formed by a division of the Yadkin, in 1799; it was situated near the line of Virginia, in which State a few of its churches were situated in its early movements, and such, I believe, is the fact at the present time. It was situated, at first, in the counties of Burke, Wilks, Surry, and Ashe, in the obtuse angle of N. C., which is bounded by Tenn. on the west, and Va. on the north. Its locality, probably, does not vary materially from its former bounds. The same remark will apply to this body as to that of the Yadkin, relative to its late Minutes, pastors, and churches.


Was formed in 1827; it is contiguous to the Mountain, in the county of Rockingham, and probably some neighboring ones near to, and partly over the line of Virginia.

The CASCADE CHURCH, is the largest in this body; according to the Minutes of 1845, it contained 142 members-the others were generally small.


Was formed in 1821; but I have no information as to its rise and progress; it contains sixteen churches, most Of them are in the county of Wilks; of course it is in the midst of the Mountain anti Mayo communities, a thing very common in this region of country, where they split up and multiply their small concerns, about equal to the Scotch Seceders. They are all on ground which is in suffering need of missionary aid; and yet no where is the opposition to all benevolent institutions more resolutely maintained than is done by some of the small and famishing bodies, which here drag out a lingering existence. This Association, I should judge from the details of its Minutes, espouses the mission cause.

The BRIER CREEK CHURCH Jesse Adams, pastor, is the largest in this body.[26]


Was formed in 1840: it has seven pastors, and thirteen churches; all except one are in the county of Ashe, which joins Tenn. on the west, and Virginia on the north.

The COVE CREEK CHURCH B. McBride pastor, is the largest in this body.[27]

There are three other small associational communities in the upper country, of which I have not acquired sufficient information for the construction of my usual historical accounts; the names are Bear Creek, Lewis Fork, and Fishing River.

BEAR CREEK is dated 1833; its clerk, a few years since, resided in the county of Cabarrus. A church by this name formerly belonged to the Yadkin Association.

LEWIS FORK, is said to have been formed in 1836.

FISHING or FISH RIVER, is a very small body; it is no doubt of recent origin. All these institutions, I should judge, belong to the non-effort class, anti are situated in the hilly regions of the State this side the mountains.[28]

I shall now bring under review the five remaining Associations in this State, all on the mountains and in the mountain valleys, the hi story of which, by the aid of good correspondents, and my own personal researches many years since, I am touch better prepared to relate than of many whose affairs I have attempted to describe.


Bears date from 1807; at the time of its forination, the region in which it arose was regarded (is the rte plus ultra of the white population iii this part of the State. The following description of this fraternity is thus given in my 2d Vol., published in 1812:

The French Broad Association is a small body, situated mostly in the county of Buncombe, in a mountainous region in the western part, of the State. This county was formerly large enough for a small State, and extended to the Tennessee line.[29] The county of Haywood has not long since been taken from it. It is, however, very large, arid encompasses a number of everlasting hills, and some fruitful valleys. Through it runs a river called the French Broad, which gave name to the Association we are about to describe.

It was at first composed of six churches, viz: Little Ivey, Locust, Old Fields, Newfound, Caney River, French Broad, and Cane Creek. The three first were dismissed front the Holston Association in Tennessee, and the other, from Broad River, in South Carolina. Four churches leave been added to this body since its formation. The ministers which it contained at its beginning, were Thomas Snelson, Thomas Justice, Sion Blithe, Benjamin King, Humphrey Posey, and Stephen Morgan.

From this old community, a number of the neighboring ones have originated, as their history will show.

This old fraternity now extends to the county of Yancy, and probably some of the other shires into which old Buncombe has been divided.

The LITTLE IVEY CHURCH is now the largest in this old Association.


Is an immediate offspring of the one last named; it was organized in 1829, and appears to leave been the first colony which went off from this mother body, and not in the most agreeable manner. This has been called a Free Will Baptist institution; how it came to be so denominated, is explained by one of my correspondents for this region.

“Abont the year 1828, an unhappy split took place in the French Broad Association, on principles; the one party inclining to the Calvinistic, and the other to the Arminian side of the controversy. The Arminian part went off and formed themselves into a Free Will or Liberty Association; since that time, it has changed its name to the one it now bears.”[30]

The ministers of this body at the time of its formation, were G. Deweese, H. Masters, and M. Peterson. The Minutes for 1846, exhibit a list of 19 churches; none of them, however, amount to 100. The counties are not named on the Minutes; the last session was held in that of Yancy, in which I conclude most of the churches are situated.


Was formed in 1829, and is another branch of the old French Broad. It is about the same size of the Big Ivey; the churches are also small, compared with many in the low counties, where the colored population abounds; very few of them are found in the high lands and mountains.

The Minutes of this community are arranged in business-like style, as to dates, counties, pastors, &c.

The LOCUST OLD FIELD CHURCH, 1803, W. Haynes pastor, is the oldest 2nd largest in this body,[31] which is situated mostly in the counties of Haywood and Mason.


Bears date from 1838; it came from the old mother of baptist interests in this region. This community came into being with unusual strength, for a new and mountainous country; it began with nine ordained ministers, viz; R. Jordan, J. Canlrell, T. Stradley, J. Blythe, B. Bruce, M. Pickinan, W. Mince, J. Evans, and Jos. Kendall, and about 400 members. Two of the Salem churches are in the county of Buncombe, all the others are in Henderson. A portion of the ministers just named, still officiate as pastors in this body. This is a fraction in advance, as to numerical strength of any of the five Associations in this western group.


Was formed in 1839, by the name of Notley river, which it retained but one year, when it assumed the one by which it is now distinguished. This is still a very small body, but is very efficient for its men and means; it employs two domestic missionaries a part or all the time, to supply their feeble churches, and labor in destitute regions. Indeed all the Associations in this interesting group, seem to be the decided friends of the mission cause.

James Whitaker, Esq., the clerk of the Valley Association, has given file historical sketches of most of the churches of which it is composed, which 1 regret my limits will not permit, me to inert.

The Valley Association occupies the gore of N. C., which runs down between Tenn. on the west, and Ga. on the east; a few of the churches are in the last named State, but it is regarded as a N. C. institution. The churches are 20 in number, all small and situated in the new county of Kehukee; those on the Ga. side are in the county of Polk. This portion of the State was but lately inhabited by the Indians, and one of the ordained ministers in this body is a full-blooded Cherokee.[32]

Closing Remarks. With much labor and care, I have ascertained the location of all the various associational communities in this State, whatever may be their views and pursuits as to missions, and other benevolent operations. I have been as assiduous to give the history of one class it- life other, and this course, as a general historian, I must pursue, so as to give my readers; I fell view of the baptist population in all parts of the country. I regret to see so many of our brethren engaged on what I believe to be the wrong side of Christian efforts and benevolence, and most firmly believe that they will find it so in the end. A portion of them see and feel it so now.[33]

The old North State contains about as many Associations as its great neighbor on the north, with less than half the number of communicants; many of these bodies are literally but apologies for such institutions, but. pursuant to my plan, I have placed them all as far as possible in a juxta-position and geographical connection, beginning with old Sandy Creek and Kehukee. The labor of ferreting out their localities, I may almost say hiding places, has not been small; I have had a few good correspondents, but for the most part, if I fully judge from my own experience and the complaints of Allen and others, the people here are generally slow and backward in communicating either historical facts or documents, and when all these things are considered, I am somewhat disappointed for the better, in the success which has attended my inquiries.

The North Carolina baptists, notwithstanding all the obstacles which they have had to contend with from hyper-Calvinism, and the Anti- Non, and O-mission parties among them, are evidently on the increase, not only in numbers but as to activity and efficiency in all departments.


The WAKE FOREST COLLEGE and some of their High schools have already been referred to, but I must repeat in v statements relative to other States, that all historical details of these institutions trust be deferred to my next volume.

BAPTIST STATE CONVENTION. This, though limited as to its means, is evidently doing much for the good of the baptist cause in this State; it ought to be more generally and liberally supported. Its whole history I shall hope to give in future.

WESTERN CONVENTION. The same reasons operate in this State as in Virginia, for a second organization in the great field of destitution in the highlands, in the mountains and beyond them, and incipient measures have been adopted to carry the plan into effect.

Correspondents. Samuel Jordan Wheeler, M. D., of Murfreesborough, in the low country has been assiduous from the beginning of my undertaking, and to him I am much indebted for the Minutes of Associations and documents of various kinds, and especially, for his especial efforts to stir up brethren in different parts of the State to collect and forward the directly, or through him, many valuable materials. Most of my efficient correspondents have been named in the course, of my narratives, but I will now name then, according to my usual manner, without specifying their localities, or the nature of their communications, beginning in the (‘astern, and pursuing a western course. Samuel Wait, late president of Wake Forest College, J. S. Purify, I3. Lemon, C. Lillibridge, S. P. Norris, N. Richardson, Geo. W. Purify, A. N. Nicholson, E. Dodson, C. Roby since dead, P,. Jacks, Geo, Pearcy, now a missionary in China, Thos. B. Barnett H. Posey, since dead, then on a visit from Georgia to his old seen of labors, J. Brevard, Jas. Blythe, Jas. Whitaker.


The BIBLICAL RECORDER, published by Rev. Mr. Merideth, in Raleigh, is devoted to the support of evangelical principles, and is expressly designed as an organ of our denomination in this State.

The PRIMITIVE BAPTIST is published in Tarborough, under the patronage of the old school baptists so called. I have seen but a few copies of it, although I have made many efforts to have it sent to me in a regular manner, as other baptist papers generally are.

Appendix. After the copy for North Carolina had all gone to the printer, and the proof’s had returned, I received from Dr. Wheeler a copy of the Minutes of the N. C. Baptist State Convention for 1846, which contains a full list of all the; Associations in the State, of all kinds; and among them I find one by the name of the


Which bears date from 1814. A. J. Battle, of Goldsboro’ is its corresponding Secretary; its total amount of membership was 2796, in 1845. I have never seen any of ifs Minutes, and have no account of its origin or progress. I shall try to obtain its statistics for my tables at the close of the Volume.


    1. I found one of Mr. Palmer’s letters to Mr. Comer, dated 1729, among Mr. Backus’s papers, which, with Mr. Comer’s journal, have helped me to a number of dates and articles, which I could not find elsewhere.
    2. I find, in Mr. Comer’s journal, mention made of one of Mr. Palmer’s letters, which was dated 1729; which stated that the church which was gathered there two years before, at that time. consisted of thirty-two members. This letter was signed by twelve brethren, by the names of Parker, Copeland, Brinkley, Parks, Darker, Welch, Evans, and .Jordan. There were three Parkers at this time, two by the name of John, and one of Joseph, who were probably the men above referred to.
    3. Semple’s History of the Virginia Baptists.
    4. This minister was probably Rev. Nicholas Bedgegood, at that time pastor of the church at Welsh Tract.
    5. M. Edwards’ History of the Baptists in North Carolina.
    6. Leland’s Virginia Chronicle, p. 42.
    7. I visited the grave of this venerable man in 1810.
    8. As I have no late Minutes of this body, I cannot give my usual account of its pastors, &c. In the B. Almanac, it is reported to have had, in 1845, twenty churches, and 1760 members. N. Richardson, Cor. Sec’ry.
    9. Burket and Read’s History of Kehukee Association, p. 27.
    10. In 1845, it reported 320; Bear Swamp, S. Dusenberry, 184; Cape Fear,_____, 181; Beaver Dam, 179; Ashpole, W. Ayres, 160; spring Branch, 156; Antioch, 124; Cross Roads, ______-, 119; Beaver Dam (Columbus Co.), 113; Iron Hill Cross Roads, 114; Mount Pisgah, 108; Porter’s swamp, 106.
    11. On these Minutes, I find the following item: a question came up respecting ordaining elder Lewis F. Williams who had come over to them from the Free Will Baptists; this they decided to be unnecessary, he had been regularly ordained by the society to which he formerly belonged.
    12. In 1842, it reported 177; Bear Marsh, 118; Moore’s Creek, 116; Well’s Chapel, 98.
    13. Communication of Dr. Wheeler, of Murfreesboro’, 1845. Dr. W. thinks Mr. Edwards’ statement is incorrect, in saying that this old church was called Perquemans, on Chowan river, The seat of if is now on the river Pasquotank, in the county of Camden. This is a question in geography which I cannot settle; the space between these rivers is indeed considerable, but the original planter’s of the Baptist cause in this region occupied an extensive field-the branches of their growing communities were established at different points-sometimes one of them, and again another would give name to the whole fraternity. This is the only way I can account for this apparent discrepancy. I have met with a number of such cases in my historical investigations.
    14. In 1846, it reported 981; Murfreesboro’, G. M. Thompson, 343; Ballards, Wm. White, 339; Ahoskie, 322; Cashie, 292; Ross M. H. P. Noggard, 281; Smith Chh., 280; Sandy Cross, Q. H. Trotman, 279; Shiloh (1757), F. Forbs, 253; Potecasi, 252; Connaritsa, 215; Bethel, 214; Sawyer’s Creek, 209; Elizabeth, J. Nash, 150; Cool Spring, H. Speight, 180; Cape Hearts, 183; Edenton, T. Waff 184; Sandy Run A. M. Craig, 176; Middle, 148; Piney Grove, Ed. Howell, 122; Ramoth Gilead, M. W. Jones, 115; Bethlehem, 115.
    15. In 1845, it reported 354; Peachtree, 101; Sandy Creek 203; Browne’s, 149; Reedy Creek, 146; Tanner’s same; Perry’s Chapel, 123; Flat Rock, 128; Haywood’s, 120
    16. In 1845, it reported 353; Raleigh, J. J. Fink, 288; Wake Cross Roads, 237; Cedar Fork, 199; Hollyspring, 162; Smithfield 135; Shady Grove, 130; Wake Union, 128; Johnston Liberty, same; Rolesville, 101; Neals Neck, 100.

This Association does not place the names of the pastors against the churches; of course, I cannot add them, as I do in other cases.

  1. In the records of this body for 1827, are the two following queries:
    1. “Is it orderly for any of the churches of this Association, to invite any of the preachers who call themselves The Reformed Conference, (its name at first), to preach in any of their churches, or sit with them in conference?
      “Answer. We, as an Association, do not believe it orderly for any of the churches, or individual members of the church, to invite, them or prevent them.
    2. “What course shall we pursue in future towards those churches, who have rent j’ front the Association?
      “Answer. Endeavor to pursue a course of brotherly love, and christian affection.” A third query was to the same effect, and was answered with similar mildness and forebearance.
  2. Minutes of the Association for 1845.
  3. At that time, it reported 308; Grassy Creek, 260; Buffalo, 254; New-light, 189; Olive Branch, 170; Concord, 143, Island Creek, 142; Bethel, 133; Brassfield, 132; Tabb’s Creek, 130; Mount Moriah, 118; Corinth, 102. The pastors are not put down against the churches as they
  4. I have no Minutes later than 1843; then, it reported 181; Upper South Hico, R. McKee, 136; Flat River, ______, 112; Lickfork, _____, 109; Arbor, John Stadler,106; all the
  5. In 1843, it reported 237; Ephesus,_____, 137; all the others are under 100.
  6. Rev. Elias Dodson was the domestic minister for 1844-5, and was 13 months in the field. His account of his travels, ministerial and colporteur service, is published in the Minutes, and exhibits a commendable activity in his peculiar vocation.

  7. My sketches of this community are taken partly from the Minutes, but mostly
  8. I have no Minutes later than the date Given above; then, it reported 2;16; Forks of Little River, -, 149; Saron, -, 124; Brown Creek, -, 102. The colored members were reported
  9. These frets I gather frorn Mr. Nicholson’s communication above referred
  10. In the Minutes of 1845 it reported 201; all the others Were below 100..
  11. In 1845 it reported 104; all the others are under 100.
  12. In 1845, it reported 119; Three Forks, N. F._____, 102; all the others were
  13. All my ideas respecting the three bodies above named, have been gained front
  14. A number of other counties have since been formed from this extensive
  15. Letter of James Blythe to the author, 1846. H. Posey, who lived and labored in this region when I was there, in 1810, has given me valuable information relative to the baptist cause in all this end of the State. Mr. P. afterwards removed to Georgia, where he died a short
  16. None of them come up to 100.

    To James Blythe, one of the founders of this new interest, and James Prevard, its clerk in 1845, I am indebted for the above details. Mr. B. has given me an account of the colored members in each church. They amount, in the aggregate, to 33, out of between 7 and 800.

  17. Communication of James Whitaker, Esq., of Jamesville. The Valley Association, small as it is, at its session, in 1846, agreed to divide, told form a new one, by the name of Notley River.
  18. In 1841, I went south its far as Georgia, for historical purposes; while passing through North Carolina at midnight, a gentleman came into the Cars wish whom I soon fill into conversation on the condition and prospects of our denomination in that region, when he gave me the following account: “I am tired of the course our preachers pursue–our churches are all running down we have no Sabbath-schools or Bible classes, and very little; to engage the attention of the people; I am but a private member, but if I could put our preachers on a different track, I would be glad to do it. But here we are, and what can we do? We have nowhere else to go–our churches are so weak that we can do but little for our ministers-we are dependant on them rather than they on us, and they manage matters all in their own way. But we are worn out with their old and everlasting stories against missionaries. Our churches are all asleep, and fast declining. I heartily wish some of the missionary preachers would come among us, and stir us up I am sure many of the people would be glad to hear them.”
    This was within the bounds of one of the low country Associations which his been famous for its hostility to all the benevolent. institutions of the day.